Switchover leaves 36,000 homes without TV


A total of 36,000 households are still without television, more than a month after the analogue signal was turned off.

This means 2 per cent of all households in Ireland excluding holiday homes did not take part in the digital switchover. The latest figures from Television Audience Measurement Ireland show 19,000 households have moved from analogue to other television providers throughout November.

A spokeswoman for TAM Ireland said they are expecting those numbers to decrease in the new year, but there may be reasons those 36,000 households did not make the switch.

“They could have been light television viewers and other options are not viable for them,” she said.

A spokesman for the Department of Communications said it is surprised at the figures, but is still monitoring the situation.

“We are hearing on Boards.ie and other forums that people are having trouble with Saorview boxes, but that’s about it. We can’t dispute the figures at all, but we find them very surprising,” he said.

Despite the higher-than-expected number of households without television since the signal was turned off on October 24th, the spokesman said there would be no need to run a new campaign for homes without television.

“[We] can only assume that a significant proportion of those reported 36,000 households who did not switch did not do so by choice and not because they did not have the information to make the switch,” the spokesman added.

Last week, the Department of Communications received 22 complaints regarding the switchover, and it has received 55 calls from people claiming they did not switch since October 25th.

A spokeswoman for RTÉ said they are expecting many of those 36,000 households to move from analogue within the next few weeks.

“Christmas is a key time for TV viewing and is also a peak time of consumer electronic retail activity. We would expect that this number will fall further by the end of January in particular,” she said.

University of Limerick student Triona O’Sullivan (22) lives in one of the houses yet to make the change and says the time before the digital switchover crept up on her.

“We didn’t want to pay for a Saorview box and we can still watch television on our laptops. There are TV plays online and Aer TV too,” she said. “Sometimes we can’t join in on conversations about what was on television last night, but the main thing I miss is having a bit of background noise around the house.”

There are two helplines set up to help people with the digital switchover which are both still active. The Department of Communications helpline is 1890 940 980, while Saorview's is 1890 222 012.